Retired wrestling star Jim Breaks has been released from prison and admitted to a psychiatric hospital after being deemed unfit to stand trial over the death of his ex-girlfriend.
The former ITV star, from Bradford, west Yorkshire, was accused of fatally punching Donna Cowley several times on her face and body in 2017 during an argument in their holiday resort apartment in Gran Canaria.
Breaks’ homicide trial in the Canary Islands was suspended in April because of the coronavirus crisis but court authorities confirmed on Monday the 83-year-old has been released from jail as he is suffering from senile dementia.
Retired wresting star Jim Breaks (middle) has been released from prison and taken to a psychiatric hospital after being deemed too unfit to stand trial over the death of his ex-girlfriend
Judge Emilio Moya, dismissing a prosecution appeal against Breaks’ prison release, said: ‘In the unlikely event he recovers his sanity before his crime becomes spent, a new decision could be taken.’
A psychiatrist’s report stated he would ‘not be able to understand the object and scope of his trial’ and that he was suffering from an ‘irreversible illness.’
He has now been taken to an unidentified psychiatric institution where he will remain for the foreseeable future.
State prosecutors had been demanding a 15-year jail sentence ahead of his trial, accusing him of punching Ms Cowley and smashing a cup over her head during the fatal argument. Breaks was remanded in prison after his arrest in June 2017.
Prosecutors alleged that, after assaulting her, he abandoned his severely injured ex-girlfriend in the bathroom of his flat.
She managed to call the emergency services for help after being attacked, but died in hospital the following day.
Breaks was accused of punching Donna Cowley several times on her face and body during an argument in Gran Canaria in 2017, which led to her death. HIs homicide trial was delayed in April due to coronavirus
83-year-old Breaks from Bradford, west Yorkshire is believed to be suffering from senile dementia, according to local reports
The mother-of-two from Yorkshire moved to Gran Canaria with Breaks around 20 years before the tragic incident after working for him at a pub he owned in Bradford.
She fell on hard times after succumbing to drink problems when her love of partying started to take its toll, which resulted in her suffering from several health problems such as asthma and diabetes.
Breaks reportedly confessed to assaulting Ms Cowley during his behind-closed-doors court interrogation shortly after his arrest.
He told the judge she was acting as his carer when she died and they were not dating.
She is understood to have moved back in with him after they finished dating when she lost her job.
Breaks, known as ‘Cry Baby’ in the ring, was a familiar face in Britain for almost 30 years as millions tuned in to watch his fights on Saturday afternoon TV.
He won the British Lightweight championship against Melwyn Rees in October 1963, holding the title until 1967 when he lost to Al Miquet.
He went on to regain the belt a further nine times before losing it for the final time against Steve Grey in 1984.
Jim Breaks was a popular figure in British wrestling during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, holding the British Lightweight championship over several decades
Friend Suzie Wong paid an emotional Facebook tribute to Ms Cowley after her death in 2017.
Ms Wong posted: ‘Donna always managed to stay so happy, regardless of what she was going through in life.
‘She was a beautiful person with no badness whatsoever inside her.
‘She was only living with Breaks because she had no money and nowhere else to stay, simple as that. She didn’t deserve what happened to her.’
Another friend, Samantha Way, wrote: ‘RIP my dear friend. I’m so angry that you had to be taken this way.
‘You were put through so many challenges in life and to end this way I am truly sickened.
‘I hope the angels will guide you to a place where you will be at peace.’